The Chinese Army is the world’s largest military force. In 2017, it was estimated to contain up to 2.3 million active personnel. This figure places the ground and air forces of the People’s Republic of China Army firmly at the top when it comes to comparisons of size with other global military forces.
The numbers of active personnel have grown gradually since the late 1980s, with a dramatic increase coming in the years after 2000. In 1987 the People’s Liberation Army had its total membership at 1.7 million, before the Chinese Government began cutting down on its military strength in an attempt to make the country more stable. However, by 2005, the number of PLA personnel had risen back to its traditional size, at 2 million active personnel.
The Chinese Army is renowned for its stringent recruitment standards. Before a soldier can be admitted, they must undertake comprehensive recruitment tests to check that they meet the necessary criteria specified by the Government. Recruits have to demonstrate physical aptitude and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the Chinese Army’s mission and objectives. Those who do pass are rewarded with competitive pay, benefits and generous leave periods.
The Chinese Government has also implemented stringent recruitment policies for higher-ranking officers. Applicants must pass a series of important exams that test their technical and tactical knowledge. They must also demonstrate leadership potential as well as physical and mental hardiness. The aim of this is to ensure that only the most elite military personnel are chosen for key roles.
One of the most important provinces in terms of the Chinese army is Tibet. Chinese soldiers stationed in the region both monitor and enforce the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s (TAR) various laws, acting as a deterrent against religious unrest. In addition, they are expected to offer protection to Tibetan civilians against any external security threats.
The logistical side of the Chinese Army is also impressive. While the majority of its personnel are deployed to undertake military operations and maintain security within its borders, the government has developed an ambitious logistics system that allows it to move supplies, troops and equipment around the country at will. In addition, the Chinese Army has a number of specialized units designed to tackle specific tasks, such as nuclear weapons handling, maintenance of military planes and ships and special operations.
Defense Spending of the Chinese Army 2017
In 2017, China’s total military budget was estimated to be $175 billion– the world’s second-highest military expenditure in the world, behind the United States’. This represents a significant shift from earlier times when China was not known for its defense spending.
The shift in spending is seen by many analysts as a sign that the Chinese Government is keen to ensure its standing as a powerful, modern nation. The militarization of the South China Sea and the disputed border territories between China, India and Pakistan have all seen significant investments in their defense and the provision of modern military hardware, such as aircraft and ships.
The expansion of China’s naval capabilities requires it to also invest in maintaining and upgrading its fleet of submarines. This is particularly important in light of the ongoing tensions over the South China Sea and its highly disputed waters. Moreover, China is also increasing its air defense capabilities, with the development of sophisticated early-warning systems being deployed along its coastline.
The Chinese Army has also invested in the development of powerful anti-aircraft missile systems, such as the advanced S-400 Triumf system, which is believed to be superior to the Russian-made S-500 system. In addition, the Chinese Army is also known for its impressive cyber warfare capabilities, which could be used to disrupt communications, jam radio signals and unlock confidential information.
Military Technology of the Chinese Army 2017
The Chinese Army has been investing heavily in modern military technologies in order to ensure its continuing supremacy on the battlefield. In the last few years, they have begun to develop several high-tech weapons to give them the edge over other countries in terms of firepower and military capabilities.
The People’s Liberation Army is now equipped with a range of modern weaponry in order to keep up with their US and European counterparts. This includes the latest and most advanced air defense systems, such as the HQ-9A, missile defense systems such as the HQ-6, and guided rocket launchers such as the WM-80. The Chinese Army is also researching the use of robots and unmanned aerial vehicles to increase battlefield efficiency.
The Chinese Army also has access to a wide range of nuclear weapons. These include nuclear missiles, bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles. China is also believed to have one of the world’s most extensive and advanced research programs into the development of nuclear weapons.
Despite the Chinese Government’s investments in military hardware, perhaps the most talked about modern Chinese military technology is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is being used to enhance the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army, with AI-equipped drones and robots being deployed, to create an artificial intelligence-supported “electronic battlefield” and to improve the accuracy of targeting systems.
Modern Warfare and the Chinese Army
The Chinese Army is now using a range of modern techniques in order to further enhance its military power. Advanced computer modeling is being used to improve the accuracy of weapons systems and enhance the efficacy of troop movements and military operations.
The Chinese Government is also investing in artificial intelligence, with the aim of creating autonomous robots that can be used for a range of functions, from surveillance, to search and rescue, to combat operations. It has also begun to conduct cyber warfare research in order to improve its ability to disrupt communications, jam radio signals and unlock confidential information.
The Chinese Government has also heavily invested in its interceptor missile program, which has seen the deployment of missile defense systems that can intercept incoming ballistic missiles. The aim of this is to protect their cities and strategic assets from a potential attack.
In addition, the Chinese Army’s Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) is designed to protect the country’s airspace from attack. The IADS is an integrated network of ground-based radars, surface-to-air missile sites and early-warning aircraft.
Finally, the development of high-tech weapons such as lasers could also be used to gain an edge over rival nations in terms of warfare. Lasers are being developed as potential weapons due to their ability to deliver rapid and accurate fire and the potential to create considerable destruction in a short period of time.
The Chinese Army’s involvement in a number of significant international operations throughout 2017 has been well-publicized. In April of that year, the People’s Liberation Army took part in the joint Sino-French humanitarian mission to provide relief efforts in Iraq. The Chinese soldiers provided food, water, medical assistance and engineering aid to the people in the region.
In addition, the People’s Liberation Army also took part in the India-China joint military exercise, known as “Hand in Hand”. This involved both countries participating in a number of mock-warfare drills in order to promote military cooperation and enhance each other’s understanding of their particular military techniques.
Other operations included the international anti-terrorism military exercise in Kazakhstan, which saw the participation of Chinese, Kazakh, Tajik and Uzbek forces in order to increase regional cooperation. In addition, the Chinese Army also took part in the multinational military exercises in Russia and participated in “Peace Mission 2007”, a joint military exercise with Central Asian states.
Relationship with Allied Nations 2017
The Chinese Army has developed strong relationships with several allied nations throughout 2017. In April, a visit by Chinese military representative Major General Hao Jim to North Korea highlighted the strong cooperation between the two countries. During the visit, Jim exchanged information and assessed the preparedness of the Korean People’s Army.
The Chinese Army also maintained a close relationship with the United States, with the US military conducting a number of joint training exercises with their People’s Liberation Army counterparts. This included a ground-breaking exercise in October of that year that aimed to further improve bilateral military cooperation.
In addition, the Chinese military also maintained strong ties with their Pakistani counterparts, with both armies conducting a number of joint military exercises over the course of 2017. The People’s Liberation Army also conducted numerous joint training operations with their counterparts from the Russian military.
Finally, the Chinese Army also participated in a number of multinational military exercises in 2017, including the Counter Terrorism International Military Training (CTIMT) in Myanmar and the RISING TIDE exercise in Indonesia. This demonstrates that the People’s Liberation Army is keen to engage in cooperative military operations with their allies in order to promote regional security.